Rise in alcohol deaths among young women highlights need for more action, says Swanswell

19 July 2013

A new study showing deaths from alcohol-related diseases in young women are rising is another clear example that more needs to be done to tackle problem drinking, says Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to results of research in to deaths of men and women of all ages in Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester between 1980 and 2011 (reports BBC news).

Experts looked at patterns of alcohol-related death rates in the three cities and compared trends of people born between 1910 and 1979 as part of the study, which featured in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

It found that men were more likely to die from alcohol-related diseases than women, and for the majority, cases had begun to level off or fall slightly - but rates among the youngest group of women (born in the 1970s) had increased in all three areas.

Researchers suggest that cheaper, more accessible alcohol, better marketing and longer drinking hours were a factor and that minimum pricing – shelved by the government this week – would have helped to tackle the problem.

Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne announced on Wednesday that alternatives to minimum pricing would be introduced, including a ban on alcohol sales below duty plus VAT and plans for tougher action on irresponsible promotions in pubs and clubs (reports the Guardian).

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘While the figures aren’t surprising, they are very worrying and are a clear example of how more needs to be done to tackle problem alcohol use, sooner rather than later.

Any alcohol-related death is entirely preventable in the first place by giving people the right information, so they can make informed decisions about their drinking and understand the consequences of having too much.

'We agree that measures such as minimum pricing would have helped address the problem – used alongside other elements such as better alcohol education and clearer information - so we’re disappointed it’s been shelved.

Ultimately though, tackling alcohol misuse is something we all have to take responsibility for  - it’s not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own.’

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